Building A Cathedral!

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Life is pretty daily! I know that might sound funny, but it is. And ministering and serving others is the same way. It’s very daily. As unspiritual as it might sound, ministry can be very ordinary. In our culture of excitement, we expect our discipling of others to always be magical. We imagine angels singing behind us in our daily praying for others. And yet most times, it’s just standard ritual.

Therefore, in the midst of ministry that is every day in nature, it can become easy to lose sight of the bigger picture. In the day to day service and the sharing of our lives with those around us, we can forget why we do what we do. We can lose sight of the forrest for the trees, so to speak.

I recently read about a story of two stonecutters. Each was asked what they were doing. One responds, “I am cutting stone in a perfectly square shape.” The other responds, “I am building a cathedral.”

Personally, I sometimes forget the bigger picture. I fail to remember that it’s larger than just “cutting stone in a perfectly square shape.” It’s about building a kingdom. It’s about being a part of something grander than myself though the task at the time might appear routine. The weekly meeting of a friend for prayer or the washing of the dishes for my family (see Theology of Washing Dishes) are in the larger scheme of things, “building a cathedral.”

If all of the above is true, then maybe we should rejoice more in the routine of ministry that is a part of the life and place we daily inhabit.  I realize this is hard to do living in a world that continues to wait for the next big thing, but we must try. I love the words of Christopher Ash as he writes that “the best kinds of ministry are, more often than not, long term and low key.”

So it’s true that “we are cutting stones into squares.” Ministry can be, and really is, routine and ordinary. And yet we must never forget that we are a part of something much bigger. The writer of Hebrews tells us that those who came before us, though not sure of how it would all work out, were looking to something greater. Though our ancestors in the faith died “not having received the things promised,” they continued on for they were “desiring a better country, that is, a heavenly one” (Hebrews 11:13-16).

We need to realize that we might be planting shade trees that we will never sit under. We might never see the finished product, but we  must trust that anything that we do for God is not wasted, no matter how small we think it might be. So today, let’s delight in making some square stones knowing that in reality, we are building a cathedral.

 

 

 

What Personality Is Needed For Ministry?

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What personality is needed for ministry? Interesting question isn’t it? Personally, I don’t really like it. And I’m not sure I’ve ever heard someone ask it aloud with such clarity, but I do know it’s on people’s minds. Therefore, I  think it’s a question that should be addressed. Here’s why.

First of all, I think there are those who think they don’t have what it takes for ministry. Whether one is considering ministry as a vocation or just beginning to understand the role of ministry that all Christ-followers have, there can be a tendency to believe that we might not have the right personality for the job. This is especially true in regards to evangelism. There’s no way you can be an introvert and be an evangelist, right?

When I was younger and began thinking about entering ministry as a vocational choice, one concern I had was whether or not I could be like the pastors and other church staff I knew. I didn’t really seem to fit the mold (or so I thought). Over the past several years, I have had several conversations with others who felt the same. Specifically, they were youth ministers who felt they weren’t the cool, fun-loving, athletic-type person needed.

Second, I think this question needs to be addressed because of my understanding that God uses all people. In fact, throughout history, He has seemed to use the most unlikely. We need to beat this truth into our heads. Consider the words of Paul to the church in Corinth: Not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are (1 Cor. 1:26-28).

The ones that God chooses “are not just ‘have-nots'”, writes James K. A. Smith, “they’re ‘are-nots!’ And yet they are chosen and commissioned as God’s image bearers, God’s princesses and princes who are empowered to be witnesses of a coming kingdom and charged with the renewal of the world.”

So what personality is needed for ministry? Well, simply put, it is the personality that you have been gifted with. You might think you are too quiet and shy. Or you might think that you are too loud. But regardless, you should know that “you were made just as you are so that you can [minister] to a particular people” (see Get Real by John S. Leonard). No doubt there might be times when you have to speak up in spite of your shyness and listen instead of always talking, but make no mistake about it, you have the personality needed for God to use.

When Paul counters the argument among the Corinthians of whom they thought was best to follow, whether it be him or Apollos or someone else, Paul made it clear that they were being worldly in their thinking. Paul writes, What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God’s fellow workers (1 Cor. 3:5-9).

God chooses to use all personalities and giftings so therefore, we should rejoice in all as each are given for the purpose of making Him known. So whether you are introverted or extroverted, you have the personality needed. Thank God for it and serve others with it.